Wasted Night?

Last night was one of those evenings when it seemed everything was going to go wrong. It was our monthly Cable Advisory Council meeting and we needed to be in Woodbridge by 7. The four of us from Fairfield were going to carpool together with me driving and we were rendezvousing around 6:10.

This was the first time our CAC chairman was riding with us and this where things started to go wrong. He likes to get there in plenty of time and would have preferred leaving by 5:45. No one told me so he’s sitting and fuming, calling my house to seek me and being rude to Deb. Additionally, the member whose house we all met at couldn’t make it at all.

Around 6:15, we’re all in the car and the chairman rides shotgun reading the directions. I’m told take I-95 to Exit 59. Seems kind of far but okay, I’ve never been to Woodbridge, what do I know? We get off; start following the directions and nothing is matching up. Finally, we pull into a gas station and as Jody is asking for help, I look at the directions. Our navigator missed the line that said take I-95 to Exit 38, the connector to the Merit Parkway, and take that to Exit 59.

As I’m approaching warp speed, the chairman is working his way through our contact list, desperately trying to reach anyone already at the meeting, to let them know we’re late, but still planning to arrive.

Finally, after a wrong turn or two, we arrived a mere 45 minutes late. The CAC graciously took a recess so we could settle in and grab some of the sandwiches that were provided. Then, we got down to business.

The CAC is in an odd place right now as we struggle to make SoundView conform to their charge from the DPUC with regard to spending $60,000 to help the six towns be outfitted for more town-specific public access programming. The Mayors/Selectmen of the six towns are give public access different weights so some towns, like Orange, are way ahead of the curve, while Fairfield is just getting off the ground. On top of that, the state legislature is considering additional laws that would more than likely further diminish what little authority we have.

And honestly, the CAC right now acts as the cable ratepayers’ advocate group but we have no teeth. We tell the state Sound View is not worth a renewal; they get renewed. We tell Cablevision they should offer seniors a discount; they say no. So, as I drove home, without incident, I was thinking about what good we can accomplish and what purpose does the CAC currently serve. Worse, one of the bills being considered would create a statewide CAC, which seems even more pointless.

We got back to Fairfield only to find our chairman locked the keys in his car. Fortunately, I was able to dash a few blocks away for tools that allowed him to access his emergency key, allowing him to go home. What a night.